highlights and main attractions of the kenyan coast

Where rugged wilderness meets the glistening waters of the Indian Ocean, the revered Kenyan coastline is a place of unimaginable beauty. Where gentle trade winds allowed the passage of traditional dhow boats between Arabia and India, traders once saw the area as a favoured spot to exchange spices. The resulting heady mix of imported and indigenous influences from Africa, Arabia and Asia created Swahili culture, which would go on to produce Kenya’s most spoken language. Today, this melting pot of people and cultures is still felt and can be enjoyed alongside excellently preserved marine life and spectacular offshore coral reef system, stunning beaches and mangroves that teem with birdlife, making it a perfect place to unwind once your safari time is over.

The capital, Mombasa, is Kenya’s second largest city and the gateway to some of the finest beaches and resorts in the area. Despite Mombasa’s heavy development for mass tourism, we feature those areas that truly portray the beauty and serenity of the area, away from the tourist hordes. A small coastal town two hours north of Mombasa, Watamu Bay has an impressive coral reef and Swahili influence and is a tranquil destination that also has a National Marine Park, which is a popular day-trip option for snorkelling and exploring the abundant marine life.

The immense 490 kilometre coastline that defines Eastern Kenya is lined with palm trees from where it meets Somalia in the north to Tanzania in the south. 

where is the kenyan coast?

the lamu archipelago and diani beach

The Lamu archipelago is Kenya’s oldest settlement and the cradle of the Swahili civilisation, earning is UNESCO World Heritage status. A trading post dating back to 1500s, spices, ivory, mangrove poles and even slaves were traded along this vital route. Stunningly scenic, the absence of cars and presence of dhows and donkeys creates a unique, laid back atmosphere. Explore the buzz of local markets in the old town, indulge in fresh seafood or dive the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, relaxing in the family-run and intimate Peponi Hotel, who established the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust in 1992 in order to relocate and protect turtle nests.

diani beach

40 kilometres and one hour south of Mombasa, Diani Beach is one of the more popular areas, surrounded inland by rainforests that contain colourful birds and rare Colobus monkeys and crystalline ocean waters filled with dolphins, fish and sea turtles. 

From here it is possible to walk 5 miles in either direction along an idyllic coastline. The intimate Water Lovers and Asha Cottage both offer exclusivity and natural splendour.

A quieter getaway can be found in the form of Galu Beach close to Diani, with its distinct village feel and the sublime Kinondo Kwetu lodge. Further south, Msambweni Beach House has a staggering 700 foot private beach for the ultimate relaxing getaway. Funzi Keys is equally remote, set on an unspoilt island just north of Pemba, and offers a family-run retreat unobtrusively at one with its natural surroundings, offering the ultimate in luxurious island seclusion. All the way down this pretty coast, attractive lodges, hotels and island retreats offer that ‘barefoot luxury’ feel, allowing you to feel close to your natural surroundings, negating the use of shoes and experiencing the destination from the sand up…

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